With cut-offs going as high as 99.25% in regular colleges at Delhi University (DU), the competition to get a seat is getting tougher every year. About 6,000 candidates, out of the 2.5 lakh applicants, have scored above 95% this year and are fighting for the 54,000 seats for undergraduate programmes at the university. In such a scenario, the chances of many talented students getting into colleges of their choice are not too bright. Those keen to study in Delhi can, however, consider evening colleges such as Dyal Singh, Motilal Nehru, PGDAV, Satyawati, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Shyamlal and Sri Aurobindo. There was a drop of as much as 5% in the first cut-off list of evening colleges when compared to their morning colleges.
For instance, at Satyawati College (Morning), the cut-off for the English (hons) programme was 96% and that for admission to Satyawati College (Evening) was 91%. At Dyal Singh (Morning) College, the first cut-off for the English (hons) course was 98%. It dropped to 95% in Dyal Singh (Evening) College. The cut-offs, for the general category students indicate that though there has been an increase in cut-offs in evening colleges over the years, joining one will be easier than making it to a morning college. The cut-offs for the reserved categories follow a similar trend with a drop of as much as 10% in popular courses. Many students opt for these institutes is because classes start from 2 pm, enabling them to take up part-time jobs or internships simultaneously in the morning hours.
Getting better by the day
Evening colleges have transformed in terms of demography of students, says Pawan Kumar Sharma, principal, Dyal Singh College (Evening). “Students joining (us) come from all the states of India now whereas only Delhi students came here earlier. Secondly, a very substantial number of girl students are also opting for evening colleges. About 40% of the total students in our college are girls. This has helped improve discipline. Now, students coming to evening colleges are serious, full-time students making evening colleges very much like mainstream ones.” These were earlier commonly perceived as institutes that attracted low scorers, had a skewed gender ratio with more male students or did not offer too many courses. Placements were low and students not too keen to pursue extra-curricular courses. This has changed over the years.
“Now we get very good students compared to earlier intakes. The gender ratio is also improving. Our college became the first co-educational evening college way back in 1994. We do not offer science courses but we are not just offering pass courses and have the prestigious BCom (hons), BA (hons) English and BA (hons) political science programmes. We are also likely to start a bachelor in business economics (hons) and bachelor in elementary education soon. Besides academics, students also get a chance to do well in extra-curriculars and sports,” says Sharma.
Another significant change is that the gap between cut-offs of mainstream colleges and evening colleges is closing. Comparing the cut-off trends in evening colleges in the last few years with morning colleges, Sharma says the rise in cut-offs in evening colleges has been higher when compared to morning colleges. “Over the last five years, there’s been more than a 10% increase in courses such as BCom (hons) and in English (hons),” he adds.
PK Khurana, principal, Shaheed Bhagat Singh (Evening) College, says the cut-off percentages in most evening colleges have gone up over the years. “Almost all evening colleges are co-educational colleges. Forty-five per cent of our batch comprises girl students. Evening colleges are providing on-campus placements and offer various opportunities for extra-curricular activities such as dramatics, dance, music, fine arts and debates. This year, more than 100 students secured jobs through campus placement,” says Khurana.
Need for more evening colleges?
Some student organisations have been demanding more evening colleges in DU and also in Delhi. But is it a feasible idea? “Starting more evening colleges from the existing buildings of day colleges is not good for the growth of all colleges. Day colleges suffer because they have to finish everything by 3pm and the evening colleges have to close by 8pm. A college, as an institution, is meant to provide facilities to the students for their all round development. This is possible only when there is sufficient time available to students of both the shifts. But this is not happening due to time and space constraints,” says Khurana.
Sharma, however, says, that having more evening colleges will lead to more seats and will help students who cannot get admission to DU’s morning colleges due to limited seats. “Most evening colleges start classes by 2pm and are actually afternoon colleges. The degree earned by a student is awarded by DU. Having more evening colleges will mean better utilisation of our available infrastructure but more steps need to be taken to ensure this. We are in the process of constructing one academic block at Dyal Singh College (Evening) at a cost of `6 crore which will help start few more courses,” he says.
A few evening colleges have been converted to morning colleges. These include Ramanujan College, formerly known as Deshbandhu College (Evening) and Ram Lal Anand (Evening) College, which is now Aryabhatta College. “Earlier, we had few courses but now we are expanding with new courses. Recently, our college got A grade accreditation from NAAC. Our college is performing much better than many day colleges. Our results have improved by more than 30%. The male-female student ratio in our college is 50:50 and the cut-off has increased by almost 20%,” says SP Aggarwal, principal, Ramanujan College.
In terms of infrastructure, the college has expanded at least five times with more classrooms, labs, facilities for students and more teachers. “We have more seats and the University Grants Commission (UGC) and state government are giving additional funds for upgrading the college. Upgrading evening colleges to morning colleges will give them more autonomy, better infrastructure and more seats,” says Aggarwal.
Upgrading evening colleges to morning ones will help on other fronts too. “Yes, if it happens, it can help our students get better placements. More courses can be offered which can accommodate more students,” says Sharma.
This year, cut-offs are likely to rise in evening colleges in view of the fact that the number of students applicants with 90% marks has increased and the number of applications for online admission is five times the seats available in Delhi University colleges. “The cut-offs of the evening colleges will have a differential of three to four per cent as compared to the day colleges. Evening colleges should be upgraded to day colleges because then both types of colleges will be able to churn out good results. Both will have independent infrastructure, time and space to plan their activities, introduce new courses including add on courses for the benefit of students,” adds Khurana.